Brazilian monkeys found making stone tools

Brazilian monkeys found making stone tools

Researchers have found bearded capuchin monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus) in a Brazilian forest making stone flakes, a type of early tool that is usually attributed to early humans.

The discovery astonished the researchers will now have to be more cautious when they come across ancient sites habituated by early humans where similar tools are usually found. It is still uncertain if the monkeys knew what they were making, but nonetheless, it is clear that they can also make stone flakes.

To make a stone flake, which can be used as a blunt knife, one has to whack two stones together. One rock has to be hit with another in a particular manner to break flakes.

Chatham University's biologist Erin Marie Williams-Hatala, an expert on stone tools, said that the discovery showed that monkeys have a higher level of thinking or intelligence than usually attributed to them.

Commenting on the discovery, she added, "We are constantly erecting false barriers between our mental and manipulative abilities and those of other animals. But the truth is far more blurry."

The oldest stone flakes, apparently created by early humans, date back 3.3 million years. Scientists have always attributed such stone tools to early humans, but the new discovery has indicated that their assertion might be wrong.


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